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Republican senator suggests Pruitt's number 2 lead EPA

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe said Wednesday he was nearing his limit with Environmental Protection Agency Ad...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 4:33 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 4:33 PM

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe said Wednesday he was nearing his limit with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and that an agreeable alternative would be to replace Pruitt with his deputy.

"One of the alternatives would be for him to leave that job," Inhofe said. "I would say this, that there's a guy behind him in (EPA Deputy Administrator) Andrew Wheeler who is really qualified too, so that might be a good swap."

Inhofe, in the interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, expressed regret about his disappointment with Pruitt, whom he called a "good friend." Both Inhofe and Pruitt are Oklahoma Republicans who were sharp critics of Obama-era environmental regulations.

Citing their shared background and beliefs, Inhofe said he was surprised by the near-constant churn of bruising stories about Pruitt's ethics and personal conduct in office.

"All these things that are coming out are really not good things," Inhofe said, adding later, "So I've kind of taken the position, if that doesn't stop, I'm going to be forced to be in a position where I'm gonna say, well, Scott, you're not doing your job."

Inhofe made clear to reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday that he was "absolutely not" calling for Pruitt to resign. But Inhofe said he would like to talk to Pruitt about the "piling on" of ethics allegations so he can assess what is true and what is not.

"I've said there are a lot of things that he has done -- I know him very well -- some are not characteristic of him at all," Inhofe said. "And I would like very much to have a communication with him about what is and what isn't."

Inhofe said he would support congressional hearings to examine Pruitt's conduct but that was up to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, to call for them.

Inhofe used to chair the committee and now chairs one of its subcommittees.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said on Twitter that she supported Inhofe's call for a review of Pruitt by Congress and suggested President Donald Trump review Pruitt's conduct as well.

"I support Sen. @JimInhofe's call for a hearing on EPA Administrator Pruitt's scandals; and I continue to urge the President to take a hard look at Mr. Pruitt's actions -- as I do not feel that Mr. Pruitt is serving @RealDonaldTrump's best interests.

In the interview, Ingraham said she was already at her breaking point with Pruitt and argued his "bad judgment" was hurting Trump and conflicting with the President's "drain the swamp" message. Inhofe, in turn, said, "It hurts me to say this, but I agree 100% with you."

The National Review, a conservative outlet broadly in support of Pruitt's policies, echoed some of that sentiment in a piece published Wednesday calling for his exit.

"Pruitt is replaceable," the piece read. "And he should be replaced."

For months, Pruitt has faced questions about his use of official resources for personal reasons as well as ethical questions about his connections to lobbyists and others involved in industries he is tasked with regulating. At the same time, Pruitt has worked to roll back pillars of the Obama administration's legacy on the environment and earned plaudits from conservative corners.

Trump has continued to vouch for Pruitt and said last week that Pruitt "is doing a great job within the walls of the EPA."

Wheeler, whom Inhofe floated as a potential replacement for Pruitt, was confirmed to his position in April and previously worked in Inhofe's office and as a lobbyist.

Ahead of the confirmation vote in April, Inhofe came to Wheeler's defense and vouched for both his character and anti-regulation bona fides.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16041

Reported Deaths: 767
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds103526
Lauderdale74568
Madison74525
Neshoba70742
Jones66331
Scott66112
Forrest59439
DeSoto5538
Leake44712
Rankin4468
Holmes43928
Copiah3154
Jackson30813
Attala30318
Yazoo2864
Newton2824
Leflore27334
Lincoln27029
Monroe26525
Harrison2637
Oktibbeha25314
Lamar2485
Lowndes2309
Wayne2242
Pearl River21131
Pike20411
Adams20015
Noxubee1916
Washington1917
Warren18110
Covington1732
Jasper1654
Lee1657
Bolivar16511
Clarke15419
Smith15311
Kemper14711
Lafayette1414
Chickasaw13714
Coahoma1274
Winston1211
Marion1179
Carroll11711
Clay1154
Claiborne1122
Lawrence1061
Simpson1020
Grenada993
Yalobusha966
Tate951
Hancock9112
Itawamba897
Wilkinson859
Union857
Sunflower853
Montgomery851
Panola843
Marshall813
Jefferson Davis803
Tippah7611
Webster683
Calhoun674
Amite641
Walthall610
Humphreys597
Tunica563
Prentiss563
Perry513
Choctaw482
Pontotoc433
Jefferson431
Tishomingo340
Quitman340
Stone310
Franklin292
Tallahatchie291
George261
Greene221
Alcorn181
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18474

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2283118
Jefferson1882103
Montgomery180243
Tuscaloosa81616
Marshall7059
Franklin5768
Lee55234
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43166
Butler41618
Walker3782
Elmore3739
Chambers35826
Madison3444
Morgan2971
Baldwin2929
Unassigned2922
Dallas2823
Etowah26112
DeKalb2563
Lowndes25512
Autauga2395
Coffee2381
Sumter2267
Houston2235
Bullock2136
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1789
Russell1770
Barbour1751
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1672
Calhoun1653
Choctaw15310
Wilcox1527
Cullman1501
Clarke1482
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1041
Greene954
Winston910
Macon864
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia743
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe442
Geneva430
Perry420
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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